Letters To The Editor – Feb. 23, 2011

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Not A Sport Anymore

I am old enough to remember when the major sports in the U.S. were just that, sports.

Now, thanks to television, they are all entertainment. That constant yap, yap, yap of the so-called experts telling us their opinion of who is going to win and why.

That’s why I never tune into a NASCAR race until the green flag waves. I found a 10-year old copy (January 2001) of Sports Illustrated the other day with its 2001 NASCAR preview. They asked a panel of 60 men who work in the Winston Cup pits two questions: Who’s the next dominant driver and who’s the next great crew chief?

The results of the most dominant driver over the next decade were Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (24 votes), Matt Kenseth (13) and Tony Stewart (11). The results of the next great crew chief were Jimmy Makar (21), Shawn Parker (14), Mike Ford and Royce McGee (three).

In the words of Ken Scharder, “How did that work out?” That’s why when somebody asks me, “Who is going to win Sunday?,” I tell them, “I will tell you on Monday.”

Bill Weber, Wayne, Pa.

Breath A Bit, John

Has John Roberts taken a stress test lately? Seems he has trouble getting air when reading the press releases from NASCAR. Maybe he should have an air tank nearby.

Jim Schmitt, Liberty, Mo.

Racing Isn’t Square Dancing

The Budweiser Shootout, what the hell was that? I couldn’t make up my mind if it reminded me more of square dancing, roller derby or maybe it’s an entirely new sport that looks like racing.

I sat through the first 25 laps, then turned to PBS for something interesting. I did tune in for the last four laps and there they were, still two by two by two by two.

If this ridiculous display of whatever it was doesn’t tell NASCAR that it has totally ruined a once enjoyable sport, nothing will. If you must have spec cars racing, at least get rid of the restrictor plates and let the drivers do what they do best, race.

No more NASCAR for me until they fix it.

James Bastone, Spencerport, N.Y.

Remembering Dale

It’s hard to believe that our NASCAR racing hero left us 10 years go on Feb. 18, 2001. I will never forget the news announced by Mike Helton. After I heard the news it appeared that time went still.

A person who was so huge to the sport left us on the last turn of the last lap of the Daytona 500. He probably would not have wanted it any other way. Unfortunately he did not get the opportunity to cherish the victory of one of his cars/drivers in victory lane.

The sport moved on without Dale, but it was not the same. The following Sunday we did not see the infamous black No. 3 Chevrolet, the guy with the bushy mustache. Everyone knew the Intimidator.

Since Dale’s death, NASCAR has evolved in many ways. Race tracks lost their second event and who would have thought Darlington would not have an event over Labor Day weekend?

The point system changed into a “Race for the Chase” format. The emergence of Toyota, and then the economy took a turn for the worse, which almost created the demise of General Motors.

If Dale was still with us, would he still be racing or would he be retired with Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd and many other NASCAR greats?

Last, who could forget his last win at Talladega on that October day in 2000? To me, Dale defied the laws of drafting. He went from 18th to first in a matter of three laps. He was able to maneuver his black Chevrolet between two cars and not lose the draft.

That, to me, was the best superspeedway race ever. Dale, thanks for the memories.

Bob Tucker, Hideaway Hills, Ohio

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